Saturday, April 12, 2014

Another Package In The Mail

Our final package to arrive last week was a stack of books from Book Depository. Every now & again they will ship us a lovely big box of books instead of 1 book at a time. I always love that because there's no wondering if they've all arrived or not. Funnily enough one book was mailed outside of this big box.

I had a few books I needed for Morgan for Term 2 that we ordered & the science books we didn't all ready own that go with our Noeo Science sets that we purchased. Or rather the 2 Phsyics sets I thought I purchased. The only book that wasn't on either list was Super Science Concoctions, but with term break soon upon us I thought a little extra fun on hand might be cool.

The Explore Ancient.. books are really lovely & I can't wait to dig into them. There's 2 ideas at the nd of each reading for a hands on project & we might start with the Ancient Greece book during Term break reading a small section & letting the kids pick which activity they'd like to go off & do. We'll see, as we have a few other things flagged during that time.

We really love those crazy Usborne Encyclopaedias & own quite a few on different topics, in fact the kids are trying to convince me we need another one that would go with both history topics being studied this year, & you know I'm beginning to think they might be right!

We're still awaiting a few more packages, but only one with school books in it. How on earth is it I can order 2 books from Sydney & have them take longer to arrive then books from London, England?! Don't ask, I haven't figured that out either, but we are hoping they arrive this week as that's the book about the Trojan war we're eager to read.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Display Changes

While looking on the shelve for a book I was told we own, which I don't think we do, I pulled out some new books to incise the boys to look through. The Pirate book is one Mom sent years ago to the boys & Morgan made quite a few things out of it. Jayden hasn't actually opened it up yet, but that's because he's been so intent on the Viking book. Cows In Action might be a book Mr S picked up & brought home one day, it's suppose to be about Viking Cows & considering the current love for Vikings I thought, "Eh, why not!" Wild is a comic style Bible telling of Jesus' life. My boys go gaga for comic books & we own a few comic style Bibles that get read often.

As for the The Viking book. It was actually a library find Jayden snagged as a last minute choice when he got tired of waiting for the people in front of us at the check-out to use the machine. It's actually a lovely book!

Morgan's stash didn't change much except I found a Phineas & Ferb book about the Trojan War. Funnily enough I'd pulled that episode up on YouTube recently for the boys to watch. We've read one smaller account of this tale as we await our chapter book of it to arrive in the mail, & I thought it might be fun for the boys to compare the two stories. However, I don't think Morgan managed to read that book because he plowed through a library book in 3 days & then rushed back to get the second in the series only to be deflated it was checked out & not due until the end of the month. I reminded him that a favourite Uncle has a copy of the book & so he begged Daddy to send said uncle a request to borrow the book.

I do find that they both look through the books when they are laying on the floor waiting for one thing or another, listening to an audio book, or waiting on me. When they slept in the library the books got read each night so maybe if I put the books in display in their rooms they'll look through them each night. All though they do go into the home library to find books for the night so who knows, I really don't mind either way.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Silly Boys

A couple of weeks ago while I was reading aloud to the kids Jayden's foam sword was shortened. I say shortened, because I'm pretty sure he made the change on purpose, but who knows. This child has owned more of these crazy foam swords than I can count. Seriously, if he has a gold coin in his pocket & sees one of those he generally can't walk by without purchasing it. They tend to get a pretty hard workout around here too.

However, when this recent one had the end removed he asked me to pin it to the back of shirt, which I found an odd request, but harmless enough. A couple of minutes later her shouted out, "Quick, Mom, take a picture!!' Yeah, I did & then told him next time he should consider using a little ketchup for theatrical effect. He didn't find my suggestion funny.

It might have something to do with the fact that we never let him forget that when he was 3 he went through a phase of crying whenever he had a scratch. One night at the dinner table the ketchup lid wasn't on properly & when he squeezed it heaps when on his finger too. He looked down, dropped the bottle & started screaming. Now I didn't find this odd because he also went through a phase where he hated his hands being dirty, but when he wouldn't stop I nearly came unhinged.

In desperation I shouted over the din, "What is your problem!" And he retaliated with, "I can't talk because I need a band-aid!" At which point Mr S & I completely lost it & sat there laughing like crazy. This of course did little to calm poor Jayde's anxiety over the issue & he stomped his foot telling us to stop laughing & get him a band-aid his thumb was hurting him so badly.

I told him it was only ketchup & he didn't need a band-aid, but that didn't help either. He told us, "It is a cut, I know because it hurts!" Five minutes of arguing with a 3 year old & I finally reached over & thrust his thumb into my mouth, producing a clean, ketchup-free thumb. He looks down, rubs his thumb on his shirt & says, "Oh, that feels better now."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Lego Movie

I took the kids to go see The Lego Movie last week. They've been counting down since the moment the New Year rolled in & have anxiously asked me ever week to check the Cinema website. I was so relieved when they finally had a release date so I could tell the boys to stop pestering me, but it was to no avail. So last month we popped into the theatre while in town & talked with the clerk about reserving seats in advance. At that point it was about 2 weeks prior to the showing. She was keen to help us, but not sure she could because if it's not in the computer they can't officially reserve you anything.

The manager agreed with her, but both urged us to check back in with them in the first of April in order to reserve the long sought after seats. Yeah, only I didn't. I kinda keep the first of April all hush-hush quiet-quiet around here. Why? I live with a practical jokester & the last thing he needs is a good excuse to play pranks! We usually wait until bedtime or the day after to announce it's time to roll over those calendars.

 That & after a week solid of running around I made it very clear I was not going out that particular day unless I was on my bicycle. Rain put a bit of a damper on that issue, which was fine by me, an even better excuse to stay home, right?

We made it on the 2nd instead & they had so many showings that first day I was shocked. I really thought they'd have one early afternoon showing & the rest after school was out, but nope they had showings from about 11 onward. Maybe because they were showing it in 3-D as well, I have no idea! All I know is we snagged seats for a mid-afternoon showing & hightailed it back from a home-ed gathering, much to the shock of all our friends who were confused as to why we were leaving so early, to hit the theatre.

I gotta be honest & say Morgan & I were really disappointed in the movie. The graphics weren't that grand compared to Clutch Powers or even Ninjago, & the story itself was flimsy. Jayden, however rolled with laughter the entire time & was laughing so hard through the credits the fellow who came in to clean up the theatre, you know for all 9 of us who'd thrown popcorn around, kept stopping to make sure our kid wasn't choking. 

Don't get me wrong, the movie wasn't horrible, & we'd like to see it again, when it's on DVD, but we were taken aback by the whole thing. All though I have to tell you my kids were in shock over the ice cream truck. Why?

Well, you do remember when Morgan won city & state champ for the Lego competition right? He made an ice cream truck, complete with an ice cream on top & a kiosk type area out the side. Jayden is utterly convinced they got the idea from Morgan's winning entry. I dunno if he's spot on about it or not, but I did say I found the whole thing amusing when a line in the movie has the ice cream truck in full view & says, "They take our ideas & make them even better.." Knowing the chatter that had been going in our home over the whole ice cream truck just caused me to crack up.

Needless to say there's been a whole lot of Lego talk happening in our house, which is saying something because Lego Talk is always happening around here. Mr S didn't join us for the showing as he was busy with work meetings & what-not, so he's a little lost by some of the nerdy quotes we've made from the film.

He wanted to know if it was worthy of going in for a viewing again, & I said no. The kids weren't in total agreement with me, but as we're not huge movie goers due to the excess price of it we've all agreed to wait until it comes out on DVD. I really do think, expecting it to be poorer quality next time we'll probably enjoy it more. After all you have to Believe, which might sound like a cat poster, but it's true, really! -- And if you've seen the movie you'll know what I mean.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Earlier this year I told the guys I was going to be purchasing a new game each month after some complaints that I don't buy new games as often as I use to. I was actually only teasing them when I said it originally, but they told me I would never do it because I'm always saying I won't spend money on one thing or another.

Now they were right, I do often say, "Oh no, I'm too cheap to buy that!" Don't get me wrong, if the kids need shoes they have them, groceries are bought weekly, & bills are paid monthly. I'm just not one to generally go shopping for the sake of shopping.  However, I'm the one, when we stumble upon something that's lovely & we'd make use of, that generally won't purchase it because I figure we've done fine enough without it.

Last month I actually ended up purchasing 3 games because all 3 were on special & came to less then the one game I was going to originally purchase. Yep, you read that right, games are really expensive here which is one reason I don't purchase them much anymore, much to the guys disappointment. Because I purchased those 3 I actually wasn't going to purchase one this month, but then some friends were really chatting up a game called Telestrations.

Now when someone says a game is a lot of fun I listen, but that isn't a good reason for me to rush out & purchase it. Nope, what inspired me to check it out was when I heard tell it was a version of Chinese Whispers. Ever eaten dinner with my family? Hung out with Jayde for a while? No? That's a shame, you're really missing out!

Point is, that child goes gaga for Chinese whispers. He had the entire Home Ed group from itty bitties all the way up to the big manly teens sitting in a circle playing this game one week. I try to head him off at the dinner table with, "Oo, no we can't play that you have to tell Daddy that cool thing you learned about..." Cause honestly, friends, I'm just not that into chewed up broccoli flying into my ear when he giggles as he tries to say the phrase.

A little research & I found the game at a toyshop on the mainland. A quick read up told me that the game was a combo of Chinese Whispers & Pictionary, a win-win around here with our kids. So I placed an order & told no one until Saturday. Only I just told them a surprise package was coming. They all said, "What you really mean is you ordered books & they are coming, right?"

I had to clarify that there were books coming for Term 2, science goodies, but there was also a surprise package. When it arrived & they discovered what it was & how it was played they couldn't wait to dig in. We played a few rounds over dinner that night, & the next night, & the next night..

Seriously funny game to play, all though Mr S & I tend to know what the other person meant which didn't make ours quite as funny at times, but it's still a great laugh! The best round we had was when everyone said they were ready & then Jayden said, "Wait, I don't even know what this word is, how am I suppose to draw it!!"

It's been a huge hit with the family, & the kids are desperate for cousins to visit so they can play with them as well. Pretty sure they were discussing playing it via Skype with Gram, but then decided it probably wouldn't work because of the need to pass the sketch pads & have the next person in line draw on it. Who knows though, they might find a way to make it work. They've come up with some pretty impressive ways of playing games via Skype! Needless to say they were super impressed with the surprise package.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Science Package

One of our packages last week was a huge box of science goodies. Both boys have been using Apologia science, but I confess that while the information in the books is great I'm not a huge fan of the way a lot of things in the book are represented. The bottom line, for our family, is that we're not interested in the Old Earth Young Earth debate in our children's science books. That's not why we choose to teach our children science.

It's a true struggle these days to find science material, & often a lot of homeschool material in general, without having to choose between Old Earth material & Young Earth material. Regardless of our own personal stance on the issue, I just don't want it in our curriculum. I wanted a science curriculum that wasn't going to push either form of creation upon us. I'm not opposed to creation being mentioned anymore then I'm opposed to evolution [in small doses] being mentioned, but I didn't want one's personal religious beliefs being pushed through the curriculum.

That left a very few options for us, but one we were really smitten with was Noeo Science. I was a little worried about it being meaty enough, especially compared to what we were formerly using, but we were willing to give it a try & find out for ourselves how it would work.

Due to some of the biographies the kids will be reading this year I wanted to go with the physics options for the boys, with each of them being at their own level. That meant we needed physics II & III. The way the science curriculum works isn't foreign to us, as we've used SL science in this very manner before. You read sections of real books about topics, perform experiments, & record your findings. Pretty simple really.

So when our big package arrived this week I was pretty excited, until I realised I'd made a huge ordering goof-up. When I went to place my order they said shipping to Australia was free. I was shocked & figured it was a glitch so I threw heaps of stuff in the cart to see if it would effect it any. Nope, it continued to say shipping was free. However, not wanting to find a surprise shipping bill I removed everything I didn't need from my trolly before placing my order. I'm really glad I did, because low & behold I got that surprise shipping bill.

Only, when I deleted stuff I deleted some of the wrong items, whoopsie! I ended up with Physics III for Morgan as well as a few of the books I couldn't get here for him, but somehow had the Chemistry kit instead of the physics kit. I ended up ordering Jayden Chemistry II & the experiment kit that goes with that. So I'll need to place a second order to pick up the physics kit as well as the other physics manual & experiment kits.

Thankfully the order arrived so quickly because even with my clutch I should be able to reorder the missing items & have them here in time to start our new science in Term 2. The kids are extremely excited & can't wait to dig in, something about new science kits seems to do that to them.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

2014 Weekly Wrap Up: Week 9

More Vikings, Middle Ages, & Greek Myths, oh my! That sorta sums up our lovely studies  as we were stretched across vast periods of time this week with interests running in all directions that tied in with our books, & the tidbits that inspired even more research inspiration from the boys.

We also spent the week intercepting packages from the postman this as well. In fact I'm pretty sure he knows the moment I have rubber gloves on to scrub laundry, or when I sit down to start reading to the kids, because those are the moments he chooses to ring the doorbell & stand expectantly holding the goods. Still, one can't begrudge the fellow when he brings us such lovely things!

We're still reading away in A Child's History Of The World & love seeing the stories in there creep up in our other books as well. It was interesting to see a few of the greek myths told slightly differently in the D'Aularies' book compared to how it was represented in CHOW. We also swapped one of our scheduled books for God King & have thus far enjoyed it all though we aren't very deep into it yet. 

We're also reading small snippets from Pharaohs & Foot Soldiers as well as Kings & Carpenters. Both give us a glimpse into life in the past in regards to jobs, home life, & more. The pictures are cartoony in their drawing, but the kids love them. The information inside is really interesting & has helped explain a few things in our read alouds too.

At the start of the year I debated using the full 1 year Quest For Ancients from WP alongside Core W with Morgan, so we could enjoy all the loveliness both companies had to offer, or if I should use the 9 week study from Spirited Autumn Hope alongside a portion of Core W. I really tossed & turned on that idea for a long while & opted to go with the full year, but we found our books were moving us a bit quicker so this week I pulled out the 9 week study & found it was just the right fit for us due to the speed we were moving at.

It's beautifully written & includes notebooking pages & timeline information too. Both of which are winners with us. We'll continue to borrow bits & bobs from Quest as well, but for now we're enjoying the extras from the 9 week Ancient guide.

Morgan is still using MOH Vol. 1, we're hoping to wrap that up next term & begin Vol. 2. We aren't using it as scheduled in regards to a full on curriculum of it's own accord, but rather listening to the lessons as you would a good story & using a few of the quiz questions here & there for review purposes. 

We had a lovely sunny day & a child who was allowing all the spelling tiles to scramble his thinking this week so we took spelling to the driveway & worked on things that way. Spelling is one of those things we really need to do first in the morning or brains become so full of other information they can't keep it all straight.

Still reading through our 30 Days With Jesus for our morning Bible readings as well as listening to the Old Testament. We reworded a few of our poems this week in our poetry book because they spoke of Autumn & of course it unfolding in September. My crazy kids sat there looking confused so I reread the poem using March in it's place. Jayden is still working on his multiplication flash cards. The goal is 2 minutes or less & he gets a day off, once he's consistent with that time we'll start saying them as division facts. He's only off by 12-20 seconds these days from his goal of 2 minutes which has caused some angst, but we plod on regardless. 

We decided to try out A Child's Geography just for fun & read through a chapter this week. My goal is really to only encourage & not lose the geography the kids picked up last year as we continue forward. I honestly think Draw Your World will fit that bill, but we haven't gotten into it this term yet. That's okay though, there's always next term. In the mean time this book was a fun read, & we'll see how we go with it. There's three out in this series right now & because we're not using it as our main, just a fun read I don't think it would take long to get through them.

Jayden moved to a chair to do math after complaining that Morgan & I were shouting out random numbers that were confusing him. Honestly, we weren't shouting anything, all though we did mention numbers here & there. Poor Jayde was just exhausted that day & when he returned to the table with his math book it showed in his work & he broke down in tears saying he couldn't fix any of it because his entire brain had so many numbers in it he couldn't pick the right one out. I sent him outside for a bike ride then fed him lunch before we fixed the silly mistakes. He's down to his final lesson in that book before he moved on to Delta. All though I'm seriously considering 1 math problem a day during term break so he doesn't let all those numbers run too far away!

Morgan moved forward with math as well, & while he could have accomplished 2 lessons he was worried that while the first one was simple that if he moved forward he'd become confused & forget the easy stuff. So we worked on the D, E, F pages in his book this week so he could simply work on reviewing the easy lesson as well as the other things from the book. 

Swim lessons as normal, all though this is all I saw of them! I was really annoyed because rumour has it that while they haven't mastered the items they were both working on they finally broke through & made huge progress. I was busy in the office trying to sort out a billing issue. I came out & noticed high-fives were going around which was a sure sign the lesson was over. The boys were happy to tell me all about the lesson which started & ended with "A was wearing pink goggles today, he just grabbed a pair from the storeroom, but you'd really think he would have picked a different colour! I kept snickering because I was trying so hard not to laugh & he kept wondering what was so funny." I'm glad to know they latched onto the important things in class this week..

Jayden & I embarked on part of his Middle Ages week. We'll finish the other half next week. It wasn't our intention to only cover half of it, but we spent more time this week reading some books he checked out of the library about vikings & wrapping up some of his Viking notebooking pages he hadn't finished yet.

I especially loved these notebooking pages he worked on this week, but he was a bit annoyed over them. It was actually very amusing because I would read the question on the outside of each flap & then open the booklet & read the half answer & wait for him to give me the other half. He was on the floor looking through pictures of vikings & finally jumped up stormed across the room & said, "I'd really appreciate it if you'd stop answering these questions for me & allow me a try!" So I had to show him I was only reading what was written on the page. We both cracked up over it, but oh my was he insulted at first!

Morgan didn't tackle his notebooking pages so he'll work on them next week. I don't mind that entirely because it also makes for a nice reminder of what you worked on last week as you reread a little information on your pages & then decide what you'll write about. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Couple Of Reviews

Apparently I'm behind sharing some of the reviews we've written for The Curriculum Choice. Two months ago we shared our experience with the theme, Children Around The World which we spent the entirety of last year using. It really is a lovely theme & we enjoyed our time with it. We shared lots of pictures, details, & "how we did its" over on TCC if you're interested in checking it out.

This is a theme I get asked a lot about so if you're one of the many who've asked me about it, be sure to check it out! Also note that Winter Promise recently redid their website & that includes the store front. So if you go looking for samples on their new site you'll need to go into the store to find them!

Last month our review of The Picture Smart Bible was shared over there. You'll probably recognise the name as an item we used regularly a year or two ago & shared some of our happenings with. We really should pull it back out to use again as we make our way through the OT this year. Anyway, if you're curious about it you can check that out over at TCC as well.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Free Viking Game

Jayden is on a huge Viking kick with his studies lately which really doesn't surprise me. Last week I dug out some of the crafts & things I'd flagged to use during our time with Vikings & this freebie game was one of them. Jayden was so excited about playing a Viking game I'm pretty sure in the 20 minutes it took to assemble the cards & game board I was asked at least that many times if it was ready yet.

It's actually made to help students {or parents for that matter} learn the trading routes that Vikings used. The game is pretty simple once you get the game board made & the cards all printed out. The rules were super simple & straight forward too.

We printed ours out on typical A4 paper & then I trimmed it so everything lined up when I taped it together. I taped the front & the back so that it held together from both sides. All though I don't know if you'd need to do that, especially if you taped it down to some poster board or something. Either way, we chose the coloured version so we could get into playing it straight away.

Someone had the wrong paper in the printer so the cards were printed on thin paper which made them pretty easy to read through. So while we listened to an audio book I cut them apart & then glued them onto some coloured paper which we cut apart. They aren't very stiff for a typical shuffling, but you can easily mix them up & stack them up for the game.

After that all we needed was to locate some dice & markers. The chips came from a phonics curriculum the kids used when they were much much younger. We seem to have a plethora of them laying around still & we use them for all sorts of things, like playing viking games! The instructions said it could take up to 30 minutes to play, but perhaps they were playing with a lot more people because our first game was short enough that the boys begged for another. In fact, they'd have been keen to have spent the whole afternoon playing it, but we did have a few other things to do.

You can find the free printable game, instructions, & information here if you're interested. It's a great addition to Week 5 in Adventures in Sea & Sky, or any other Viking study for that matter. For storing it we simply folded the game board in thirds & banded the cards together. I didn't put it in the came cupboard though, instead I put it on the top shelf of our bookcase where it can remain flat.